Chapter

Two False Dichotomies

Ernest Sosa

in Pyrrhonian Skepticism

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195169720
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786343 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195169727.003.0008
 Two False Dichotomies

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This essay lays out the rationale for two principles — ascent and closure — and shows how they imply further principles of exclusion and of the criterion. These principles lead to the “Pyrrhonian Problematic”, which foundationalism and coherentism attempt to solve, and also to the clash of intuitions between internalists and externalists. It is argued that the kind of knowledge that externalists and foundationalists claim differs from the kind of knowledge that internalists and coherentists claim, and which Pyrrhonists doubt. This distinction between kinds of knowledge is traced back to Descartes’s distinction between cognitio and scientia. If this is correct, externalism and internalism might both be correct, and Pyrrhonism might turn out to be compatible with externalism.

Keywords: Pyrrhonian skepticism; Descartes; ascent; closure; exclusion; criterion; foundationalism; coherentism; internalism; externalism

Chapter.  6494 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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